Media Coverage

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Enhancing newsletter open rates with the right subject line

July 14, 2017

By WAYNE JASEK

Operating in a highly competitive environment – where more brands are trying to reach the same audience at the same time for ongoing promotion – has never been harder, nor has it been more important for SMEs to engage with their intended audience through the communication touch points (such as a newsletter) that actually reach them.

Importantly, the way in which local SMEs’ target audiences gather industry information and news is changing and having your voice heard in this environment is becoming increasingly complicated. Faced with a fragmented communications landscape, it is critical SMEs not only grow their own communities (and databases), but also engage with these audiences in a meaningful way.

Topical newsletters are a great way to for SMEs to promote their products, industry perspectives and company news. Through the use of reader analytics, you can monitor which newsletter stories readers are opening and what is attracting their attention, which helps inform ongoing content ideas and even wider sales and marketing activities.

While many businesses simply assume that the success of a newsletter comes down to the quality of the content, the accuracy of your database, the design and strength of imagery; what should not be overlooked is the importance of the newsletter subject line itself.

The email subject line plays a huge role in every email sent. It is the very first thing (and in many cases, the only thing) that your subscribers will see in their inbox and influences whether they open the email or not. This is even more important for newsletters. These days, newsletters are everywhere. You order some product from an e-shop, and it is very likely that you will be asked to sign-up for an ongoing newsletter. This near overwhelming level of competition for readers means that your subject line is more important than ever.

It takes practice to create eye-catching email subjects, but even then, you can never be sure that the subject will work for your entire audience. For example, an SME’s subscriber base can be quite varied and contain different groups of people, which makes thinking from all of their viewpoints near impossible. So what is the best way to ensure that your newsletter subject line works for the widest share of your audience?

A/B testing (sometimes called split testing) such as that offered by leading marketing automation providers like our company, allows SMEs the ability to test multiple versions of an email subject to a sample of its audience to ascertain which subject performs better and which headline is most likely to encourage audience engagement. A/B testing can help SMEs decide if:

Shorter, or longer subject lines work best for their audience?

Subject line personalisation works for their audience?

A question, or a statement, achieves better engagement?

Even the best marketers can only assume which email subject would be the best and, as you want to ensure the best possible open rate, it is far better to rely on actual data than gut intuition. To specifically A/B test an email subject line, you will need to use the same content as the original email, but each test variant will have a different email subject. Then select a portion of your newsletter database as your sample – note that the larger the sample the more accurate the results – and send out the different versions. Two hours following the send out, you should be able to see some pretty accurate results from the test and hopefully have a clear idea around which email subject is encouraging higher levels of engagement, ensuring that the actual full distribution of your newsletter will be a success.

Wayne Jasek, Director of APAC Operations, Kentico

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Integrating Content-First and Commerce-First Approaches

July 13, 2017

By Venus Tamturk

Content Management System, ecommerce, Enterprise Content Management, kentico, uCommerce

With the release of Kentico 11 being just around the corner, Kentico announced an integration between its Enterprise Marketing Solution (EMS) and Content Management Solution (CMS) and Ucommerce, a fully featured .NET based e-commerce platform. The vendor contended that with the introduction of Kentico 11, scheduled for release in November 2017, customers will have the option to upgrade their e-commerce to Ucommerce.

During my conversation with Karol Jarkovsky, Director of Product, at the Kentico Roadshow Boston event, he actually gave our audience the early signals of this integration by saying: “The e-commerce solution will see some improvements with Kentico 11, and these improvements will be more focused on integrations. We are planning to work with market leaders in the e-commerce space on delivering the optimal solutions for those organizations that are looking for the best of both CMS and e-commerce.” Knowing Kentico EMS and Kentico CMS come with a built-in e-commerce solution, why would Kentico roll out an integration with other commerce platforms, you may ask? According to Kentico, there are always organizations which want to use standalone best-of-breed e-commerce solutions, and the vendor wants to make sure they get everything over to its customers that they need.

Following up on that conversation, I was fortunate enough to sit down, once again, with Karol Jarkovsky to discuss Kentico 11 with integration to the Ucommerce engine. Here’s what he had to say:
 

Karol explained the motivation behind this particular partnership: “We have noticed there is a gap and an opportunity in the market to deliver a B2C and B2B platform that would combine a content-first and commerce-first solution. When we met with Ucommerce, due to the way they think of the market, the way they are positioned in the market, and their vision - even things like company culture that they have, we felt the instant click so we decided to talk about this opportunity.”  He also stated that what appealed to Kentico was Ucommerce’s vision as they believe that it goes beyond proving fundamental e-commerce capabilities to optimizing sales and increasing revenue through recommendations powered by artificial intelligence technologies.

Even though Kentico’s e-commerce module is designed specifically for midsize companies in the $10M - $500M range, the platform has increasingly been capturing the attention of Fortune 500 / Global Fortune 500 companies as well.“While our native e-commerce capabilities are more than sufficient for small, medium-size, and even larger businesses, we recognized that larger corporations, particularly multinationals, have very specialized needs when it comes to e-commerce,” said Kentico CEO Petr Palas in a press release. “So rather than re-invent the wheel, we have opted to work with Ucommerce, a company that is both well-known and highly regarded in this space.” Even though Kentico’s e-commerce module is designed specifically for midsize companies in the $10M - $500M range, the platform has increasingly been capturing the attention of Fortune 500 / Global Fortune 500 companies as well.

To inquire about the synergy between the two vendors and how uCommerce will add value to Kentico’s existing e-commerce module, we also reached out to Søren Spelling Lund, Founder and CEO at Ucommerce. “I am so excited for this opportunity for both us and Kentico because with the launch of this partnership, we will bring the best of both worlds: CMS and Ecommerce,” Søren told CMS-Connected. According to him, one of the cool things about this partnership is that uCommerce is heavily focused on the e-commerce side whereas Kentico’s heavy focus is on, as Soren puts it, “what they do great” which is content management. Therefore, Søren believes that the partnership is “a perfect match".

Bringing Content-First and Commerce-First Approach Together

Now that we are clear on the fact that this integration represents a Kentico-specific solution provided by Ucommerce rather than a replacement of Kentico’s baked-in e-commerce capabilities, let’s find out what the additional values of this option are for customers.

Kentico has seen the gap between what the vendor can possibly offer at the moment and its customers’ increasing demand for larger, more specialized e-commerce capabilities. In recognition of this need, instead of saying my way or the highway, Kentico made a strategic partnership with Ucommerce to elevate its customers’ e-commerce projects through brand-new, high-end capabilities.  

Hot on the heels of the integration announcement, once again, we wanted to pick Karol Jarkovsky’s brain on Kentico 11 with integration to the Ucommerce engine and asked him what the biggest strengths for Kentico integrated with Ucommerce are. “We take a Content-first and Commerce-first approach to commerce, which means companies can take advantage of the core strengths of a full CMS and Online Marketing platform in combination with a fully-fledged commerce platform,” he told CMS-Connected. Additionally, he listed some specific capabilities that Kentico and Ucommerce together provide:

Built-in PIM capabilities - allow companies to manage and distribute products across multiple channels easily.

Highly flexible and extensible rule-based discounting engine - allow companies to create virtually any type of promotion to attract more customers and boost sales

Advanced order management integrated - allows companies to take full control over the order processing workflow (split shipments, payment processing - refund, partial payments, etc.)

Flexibility and extensibility (from B2C to B2B, from retail to kiosks with touchscreen).

We also inquired who their core clientele for this integrated commerce platform are. Karol explained: “Target segment for Kentico integrated with Ucommerce are MEB and global companies with multiple stores/brands with multichannel strategy in place, where a high level of flexibility and extensibility is required - both on commerce logic and store design, navigation, and structure.” According to Karol, the integrated platform is the right choice for businesses looking for a highly flexible, best-of-breed, multichannel e-commerce solution. When it comes to pricing, Karol stressed that Kentico Ucommerce integration requires a valid Kentico and Ucommerce license. On that note, Ucommerce price is EUR 5,999 per server per year.

Given that even the best idea can be improved upon, we also wanted to discuss with him about the areas of improvement that Kentico and Ucommerce will be addressing in the near future. “Ucommerce is a B2C platform first and foremost. Because of its extensible nature, B2B is supported as well for B2B/B2C scenarios in one, but it requires some customization to get there,” said Karol Jarkovsky. “Another area we want to improve on is digital merchant productivity. Managing huge lists of products, orders and customers every day needs a super-easy back office UI and ability to get things done quickly. At the same time, back office UI has to be flexible and extensible to fit specific needs and business workflows. All these topics are part of the upcoming Ucommerce update that helps all digital merchants to be more productive when dealing with day-to-day operations.”

My POV

Kentico’s collaboration with Ucommerce is addressing the increasing demand for being armed with a rich content management system (CMS) around a commerce engine. Besides its technical advantages for customers, from a business perspective, I see this integration as a very-well played strategic move as far as problem-solving goes because the vendor has, with all of the transparency, acknowledged the fact that some of its customers are in need for more nimble, tailored, and cutting-edge e-commerce capabilities than Kentico’s current native e-commerce module could offer, and to address those very specialized needs, it decided to give its customers an option to replace Kentico’s native E-commerce solution with the unique, Kentico-specific solution. After all, e-commerce is a laser-focus for Ucommerce. With more than 3,000 active websites running on uCommerce worldwide, more than 100 certified implementation partners and over 1,000 certified developers, the platform is widely utilized by e-commerce service providers and well-known global brands, including H.J. Heinz, BIC, British Library, Faber-Castell, Emirates, and Reebok.

To receive some market share from this unprecedentedly emerging e-commerce space, many CMS and CRM vendors are heavily investing in providing very viable e-commerce solutions either through acquisitions and strong partnership or from building the capabilities in-house. The main purpose of the partnership between Kentico and Ucommerce is smoothly integrating these two platforms together so end-users can get a unified view of content and commerce and they can manage everything from a single place without feeling the transition between the two environments.
 

VENUS TAMTURK

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.

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Better Brand Advocates: User Generated Content in the Digital Age

July 05, 2017

By Duncan Hendy, Content Strategy Manager at Kentico Software
 

Today, the reach of a truly engaged community is something no company can achieve on their own Companies that allow others to interact with their brands and advocate on their behalf not only encourage loyalthy and enable quality content creation, but also increase their reputations and grow mutual respect. In an era of crowd sourcing and funding, user-generated content (UGC) makes perfect commercial sense. Digitally perceptive consumers are happy to take guidance on what to share, yet only a small minority of brands provide any guidelines on what to write. The ability to provide guidance on what UGC the company embraces can help businesses spread their message further and let others be their mouthpiece,

(Read the conclusion of this article online by clicking the link above)

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Invasion of the Cyber Writers

June 30, 2017

By Duncan Hendy

With artificial intelligence commonplace, even in content creation, is the day of the human writer coming to an end? Is it time to upgrade or be deleted? The cyber invasion is truly underway, in fact, it has been for years. We encounter artificial intelligence everywhere. Be it smart technology, social media bots, or online shopping, so pervasive is it, that you will meet it everywhere.

Infomaniac

Long gone are the days when leaving the office really meant keeping your work and private life separate. Today, smart devices leave us permanently connected to the office and all the cyber aspects of our lives. Everywhere we turn there is something vying for our attention. And it is somebody’s job to write all this content. After all, it cannot just generate itself. Or can it? As the demand for text increases, authors are struggling to keep up. People need fresh and relevant content. So the problem arises as to where these content editors can go to sate their readers’ hunger for material.

Meet your new artificial colleague

What you need is a reliable writer that is happy to sit in the corner churning out text. One that never wants to take the weekend off, drink coffee, or badmouth you on social media. Quite the opposite. It is possible to utilise an AI content-generating solution to tick all of these boxes. Not only can it produce the level of content necessary, it can also learn from the behaviour of those consuming it and adjust accordingly.

Something doesn’t quite add up

Computers are smart, really smart. But they don’t quite grasp all those idiosyncrasies that define what truly great writing is—be it rhetoric, irony, wordplay or just downright corny jokes. To understand this better it is a good idea to turn our attention to NLP, that is, Natural Language Processing. This takes the approach of analysing and synthesising how real speech and language work.

It is possible to split NLP into three types: inquiry, conversational, and reasoning.

Inquiry NLP

Defining when someone is asking for information through text analytic tools. By identifying question words, like “when, why, what, what, where, why, does, do, can, is”, to imperative use, e.g., “Give me a list of men’s clothes shops.” By using these tools, you can break the sentence into parts: subject, verb, object, manner, and place—giving a better understanding of the question’s nature—then crosscheck them against an ontology, for instance, www.schema.org, and use this to reply accordingly.

Conversational NLP (or Natural Language Understanding (NLU)) This technique engages the questioner in conversation to clear up any doubts. Further context is derived from the replies. Examples of this are Amazon Echo, IBM, Watson and Siri, which all use the notion of necessity and sufficiency.

Necessity—these are the factors that must be true for something else to be true: if P, then Q.

Here is an example from Wikipedia:

“For it to be true that "John is a bachelor", it is necessary that it be also true that he is

1. unmarried,
2. male, 
3. adult,

since the state "John is a bachelor" implies John has each of those three additional predicates.”

Sufficiency—meaning that, according to the information given, there are enough grounds to assume something else is true: P implies Q. Another example from the same Wikipedia page:

“Stating that "John is a bachelor" implies that John is male. So knowing that it is true that John is a bachelor is sufficient to know that he is a male.”

For a real-life example, we can take Siri, Apple’s flagship AI bot. If I ask Siri, “Hey Siri, call Bob”, Siri answers, “I have found the following Bobs in your address book. Which one would you like me to call?” Through additional questioning, Siri can refine the request’s nature. It then uses the process of Necessity and Sufficiency in order to assume more precisely.

Reasoning NLP

An example of Reasoning NLP, the self-learning form of Natural Language Processing, is the MIT project Open Mind Common Sense (OMCS). This involves AI grasping more than just the physical forces of existence, such as dimensional attributes, mechanics and mass, or linguistic devices, such as pragmatics, syntax and semantics, to handle more abstract concepts like belief, emotion and culture. Using empathy by going beyond the application of pure logic means avoiding cultural predicaments and creating replies that are more “human”.

I am not content enough

Gartner estimates that by 2018, 20% of business content will be authored by machines. Through the use of analysis, the necessary data crunching can be automated to produce less creative content items, like report, and legal and financial documents. But even the best AI tools, such as Wordsmith, aren’t as automated as that. It is still necessary to create your template, add your data, preview your stories, and then issue them.

And where a lot of news items produced these days are machine generated, these machines cannot comprehend things like noticing the sentiment between the lines or voice consistency. These subtleties are either missing from the text or, worse, unnaturally inserted. And when it comes to the news, the human focus of the stories, with true emotional impact, missing these idiosyncrasies take away the humanity necessary to convey the stories with empathy. One quick scan read can highlight immediately that what you are consuming feels clunky and false.

Mr Robot, your desk is over there

Does this spell the end to the need for human copywriter? Can we now just plug your content writers in and let them go? Unless you only need to number and data crunch, then maybe. But truly creative NLP is still relies on human input to sprinkle on those subtle tinges to generate the rapport flesh-and-bone writers achieve. And that is the ultimate goal, connected and engaged readers.

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A Global View of Web Content Management with Kentico

June 29, 2017

A Global View of Web Content Management with Kentico

By Venus Tamturk and Laura Myers

Content Management System, Kentico, Vendor Spotlight, Web Content Management

When you think of Czech Republic, ornate castles and native beers may be the first things that come to mind, but when you are involved in the content management industry, it also reminds you of a company which was born in a small apartment in Brno back in 2004, and since then, it has grown much larger than its roots as a simple web content management system. Yes, we are talking about Kentico.

Founded by Petr Palas in 2004, Kentico is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner headquartered in the Czech Republic with offices in the US, UK, Netherlands, and Australia. Kentico has 1,000 digital agency partners and powers more than 25,000 websites across 100 countries. Their customers include Gibson, Twinings, Ingram Micro, Mazda, Kingspan, Hunter Fan, Starbucks, and Allergan.

Our media reporter Laura Myers interviewed Kentico’s three most prominent sales executives from three big regions, North America, APAC, EMEA and Latin America, to get the entire picture of Kentico’s global footprint and the direction of the content management industry.

Eric Webb, VP of Sales in North America

The reason why I started off with North America is that 65 percent of Kentico’s global revenue is generated out of the U.S. market. The North American region has been a predominately concerned market toward the adoption of WCM solutions and services not only for Kentico but also for the entire WCM market, which is expected to reach USD 8.25 Billion by 2021, according to MarketsandMarkets.

While Kentico’s main target is midsize companies in the $10M - $500M range, Kentico has increasingly been capturing the attention of Fortune 500 / Global Fortune 500 companies as well - companies like Bechtel, Ingram Micro, JB Hunt, Land o Lakes, PBG and Rexnord to name just a handful, according to Eric. He believes that where Kentico is finding the greatest success is approaching the customers in a best-value manner and empowering marketers by developing innovative solutions instead of making it a very developer heavy platform.

What is most striking to me from Eric’s interview was his observation on how companies are failing as they are actually trying to embrace a best-of-breed architecture. He said: “What we are seeing is that we're often getting into conversations with clients who have heavily invested in complex technologies – we call them best of breed solutions, but, at the end of the day, they are actually not getting a return on the investment and what they need out of these best of breed investments.” Eric believes the reason often comes down to a couple of self-assessment questions:

What are the actual requirements?

What do you need to deliver and what level of complexity does that require?

What is your budget?

How much do you spend not only on the technology but also on implementing it?

What are the resources that you have in-house that can leverage it in an effective way to actually get a return on your investment?

“The response to any of those questions is in conflict with using a best of breed solution. Well, guess what! Don't use the best of breed solution so don't spend your capital on a technology that you don't have the budget for or don't have the resource or the team for,” said Eric Webb.

Speaking from experience, he said that they often see companies spending $25 - $30000 per year to use platforms like Marketo but in reality, what they actually do is use it like MailChimp as they utilize it simply for email communications to an audience without doing a lot of personalization with it. What Kentico sees now though, organizations, who have taken a misstep down the path of engagement technology, are now dialing it back to a technology that better fits their requirements. Due to all these challenges and dilemmas, according to Eric, Kentico develops its solutions by keeping marketers in mind so marketers can actually take full control and ownership of marketing campaigns that they want to execute and leverage all the touch points with their customers in a way that's actually meaningful.

Alongside its transparent and honest approach to its customers and its capabilities of extending and integrating with other technologies, according to Eric, their differentiating factor is their latest innovation in their offerings, Kentico Cloud, a cloud-first headless CMS and digital experience platform. Kentico sees it as a turning point, yet the future of content management at least for the next three to five years.

Kentico is sold and supported by a global network of solution partners who are growing in terms of scope and sophistication. Specifically, as James (Jim) Panagas, Director of PR and Analyst Relations, previously explained in a CMS-Connected interview, top firms are partnering with one another in order to pitch larger deals and pitch to larger clients. Knowing Kentico has 387 certified solution partners in North America, we wanted to inquire what the latest dynamics in that market are. Eric stressed that they have recently seen a fundamental shift in the resources and the services that digital agencies are providing. He said: “We are seeing a much greater concentration of partners who are putting a heavier focus and heavier resources towards that digital experience and online marketing.” In other words, partners’ primary focus has shifted from just implementing technologies to establishing partnerships and relationships to help their clients with whole digital experience.  

Bart Omlo, VP of Sales for EMEA and Latin America

Since Bart is responsible for Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, we wanted to pick his brain on the biggest difference between all these highly diverse regions. He contended that the most significant difference between countries is the maturity of the clients. On their spectrum, they have customers that are actively working on delivering tailored and personalized web experiences to their own clients while on the other part of that spectrum, there are still entities that are still struggling in transforming a static brochure type of website into a little bit more of a dynamic segmented website.

To elaborate this situation, he gave an example by saying that their customers located in the U.K such as Twinings or Belfast Waterfront are very active and far ahead with online marketing, whereas their other clients located in the United Arab Emirates are also far ahead in the online world but not so much with online marketing. What he sees typically in the EMEA market is that customers are eager to push the envelope for online marketing but they need to take more solid steps on that ambition.

Another important point Bart brought up during the interview was the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will be in effective as of 25 May 2018. In that regard, he told CMS-Connected that to truly help their customers, first, they need to make sure not only their products keep the data in a safe way but also that clients are able to see where is it stored, in what country, how that they’re able to delete data that they don't want to use and they are able to easily make it transparent for their own clients where their data is, what is stored and so on.

Every market has its own unique needs and dynamics. The EMEA region is arguably the most diverse one. Knowing Kentico is quite successful in this particular region, we wanted to inquire what makes Kentico stand out from the pack. According to Bart’s experience, from the product standpoint, there are two very important factors that Kentico has excelled at; a breadth of features and ease of use. Bart believes that the challenge for the vendors is providing a glut of functionality that is still easy to use and manage. “I see that organizations have 100 percent features and functionalities in place but they only use 20 percent out of those. We (Kentico) are really good at letting our customers get the most out of it by making it simple and providing a good interface. So I think, that’s where we really stand out,” said Bart Omlo. Noting time-to-market is so critical, especially from a marketing perspective, Bart believes that with Kentico solutions, to execute marketing campaigns, marketers are empowered to do more tasks by themselves without having to go to a digital agency or get a developer. He says that utilizing a digital agency to have them deliver, say, a toolbox, instead of hand holding for content curation.

Speaking of differentiators and digital agencies, its well-established partner channel is always seen as Kentico’s strength by the market research firms and customers. Considering every change in the partner world is a direct reflection of customer behavior, we wanted to get a glimpse into the recent trends. The most significant change he sees in the market is that digital agencies want to become more and more full-service agencies, meaning that they want to go beyond technical implementation to strategic partnership. Therefore, they hire more marketers and content strategists as additional to their developer teams, and according to Bart, that’s where the challenge begins for agencies as it is not always easy to manage these different DNAs to make a team that works like a well-oiled machine.

Wayne Jasek, Director APAC for Kentico Australia

Now, I will take you from EMEA to APAC with in-depth insights on the region provided by Wayne Jasek. As Kentico has been operating in Asia-Pacific since the very first year of the company's existence, the region has always been prominent for the vendor. What’s unique about the market is its sheer size and fantastic blend of cultures and languages, according to Wayne as there are 4 billion people coming from different backgrounds living in Asia-Pacific.

Kentico’s primary focus is providing a wide array of possibilities rather than focusing on any specific verticals. As every business and vertical has their own unique needs and ways of doing business, their thousands of customers in the region utilize Kentico for various business use cases. To that end, Wayne mentioned that one of their customers, Chemist Warehouse, which is also one of Australia's largest retailers, utilizes Kentico as their platform of choice for content, e-commerce, and customer experience.

While Kentico’s focused verticals in the region have been finance, leisure, and healthcare, Wayne has lately seen increased growth in interest from the public sector because they usually require very complex content governance processes and extra security, and according to Wayne, Kentico is a great fit for those scenarios. He also added that they support a great deal of non-profits, charities and associations such as UNICEF Australia and World Vision New Zealand to help them leverage their digital marketing efforts.

Wayne gave a great answer to the question regarding the common regional problems that businesses are facing there and how Kentico is helping to alleviate those. It was great because he mentioned something that actually concerns the entire tech industry globally. He said that as a technology vendor, they strive to enable their clients and partners on both the technology and marketing fronts, but there is still a missing piece in that puzzle which is a talent gap. He explained:“It's the education systems where the problem comes from, and often it happens that graduates come out from schools today with the knowledge that is already obsolete or even for the worse, they are absolutely unqualified for the field of study.” Therefore, he believes that to tackle the talent gap issue, a more agile approach to education should be adopted.

Speaking of adoption, he also mentioned about the velocity of change in the technology landscape as another challenge for businesses. How quickly the new technologies come to the market and how should businesses really adopt them in the most effective and efficient way are challenging topics in the market, according to Wayne. Therefore, his team believes that companies should focus on removing infrastructure bottlenecks and look for more innovative ways of how to connect their technology stack. To help their customers with these matters, Kentico’s product line includes Kentico EMS, an all-in-one CMS, E-commerce, and Online Marketing platform, and Kentico Cloud, a cloud-first headless CMS and digital experience platform. According to Wayne, the separation between the content management and presentation layers allows their customers to rapidly scale and reduce time-to-market as it removes the worries about uptime, maintenance or upgrades for the customers.

When it comes to the partner channel, Wayne agreed with Bart Omlo on how digital agencies are becoming more and more full-service agencies to get involved into the higher value activities like digital marketing consultancy, user experience, and customer experience instead of only managing production environments.

My POV

After taking this brief but concise world tour, it is safe to say that the ever-changing landscape of technology has a huge direct impact on web content management solutions, vendors, and the way of doing digital bussiness, regardless of geographic position.

If we look at the similarities of all the regions, we can easily see the shift in the solution partner space is happening worldwide. It wouldn’t have happened if there hadn’t been a demand so it means that buyers are on the lookout for strategic partnership rather than an implementation partner. The second similarity is underutilizing functionality in hand. As we all see at some point, advanced technology, say, artificial intelligence is something that businesses park until they have a good use case for it, whereas the other features like personalization and product recommendation are very well-known and heavily used. This is a very common issue and I believe that vendors and solution partners could help the customer with this issue through a thorough business assessment and strong strategic partnership.

Among all the great talking points that these three phenomenal sales leaders brought up, I, personally, believe that a talent gap, particularly in emerging technical fields, is an alarming threat for many organizations as the situation may throw a monkey wrench in the works. Even though many big software makers have already taken the issue in their own hands by publishing intense online courses or boot-camps, in my opinion, it really is the time that governments should take some serious steps into updating existing programs as well as opening new resources in this matter.

VENUS TAMTURK

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.

LAURA MYERS

A digital business, marketing and social media enthusiast, Laura thrives on asking unique, insightful questions to ignite conversation. At an event or remotely, she enjoys any opportunity to connect with like-minded people in the industry.

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Digital Agency Success? It's Yours for the Taking!

June 28, 2017

Do you ever look at those digital agencies that have success running through them like a stick of seaside rock with envy? Wonder why they seem to have it so easy and you are still struggling? Wish you could flick a switch and be one of those uber-achieving companies? Well, you can. Read on…

One of the most important lessons in life is that by not having the competitive edge and scrabbling around trying to catch up you are committing commercial suicide. None of us wants to be an also-run, we want to be leading the race, pulling in those big deals and charging a pretty penny for it. It’s about changing your mind-set. That’s why we decided to pick the brains of 300 top digital executives across three continents and ask them what the secret of their success is.

Awesome Staff

When you have employees that feel they are valued and share your vision with you, they will become an incredible asset. Not only will they see their job as something they love, they will help you attract others with similar qualities. And a smiling workforce that will do almost anything to make your agency shine is a wonderful piece of advertising for you. They are focused, willing to learn and hot on the latest technologies and tools. And the word-of-mouth branding they spread through the industry will help keep your client pipeline full and your reputation soaring upwards.

Smart Clients

It is necessary that all parties involved in projects are on the same page to avoid misunderstanding and educating your clients means effective communication on both sides. When they can clearly state their expectations, you can make better-informed technology recommendations. And this also involves explaining to them the value that these technologies will bring and why they are an essential factor in the project’s success. It’s good to explore the technology landscape together when they are looking at establishing a strategy for their digital marketing to understand better what realistic outcomes means to them and how to change their approach to what they do. Our research showed that top-performing agencies declare it crucial that their client understands what they need, otherwise it is impossible to deliver successful projects. That even extends to meeting the client to ensure you are the perfect match. And being clearer in your expectations will make achieving this easier. Laying down stakeholder roles, and explaining the things they are signing off, form the backbone to workflow and acceptance. It about laying out their desires and them trusting you will deliver them

Apply Yourself

The technology landscape can be a potential landmine or goldmine, depending how you look at it. So agency highflyers agree that careful recommendations are essential.

Content management systems, mobile and web and mobile analytics, email marketing and social media marketing are the most frequent suggestions. And as the pricing structure on these solutions becomes more and more affordable, even the smaller clients can have them in their deck. It is also the ability to enjoy an all-in-one platform instead of a poorly assembled best-of-breed compromise that clients are going for. This makes digital transformation easier to implement, which benefits digital agencies no end. This leads to bigger profit margins, less complicated implementation, resulting in more projects and more cash. Of course, ignoring these approaches and maintaining the status quo can seems an easier option. But hardcoding a program of sustainable growth into your business plan means you have one thing lesser performing agencies do not, and that is a future. Ignore at your peril!

Author: Duncan Hendy, Content Strategy Manager, Kentico

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